Dentists keen to branch out into dental aesthetics have until the end of this month (29 February) to secure a place on the UK’s first accredited course in aesthetic dentistry.
The 18-month part-time training programme, which leads to an Advanced Certificate in Aesthetic Dentistry, starts in April and is being run by the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK).
It’s been set up in direct response to concerns by health officials about the cosmetic procedures that are available to the public which are not necessarily being carried out by qualified dental professionals.
The course is being led by Professor Mike Mulcahy, past dean of the FGDP (UK) and course director for the FGDP (UK)’s London-based Diploma in Restorative Dentistry, and Dr Linda Greenwall, an examiner for the Fellowship of the FGDP (UK) and an authority on restorative and aesthetic procedures.
Prof Mulcahy said that ‘patient protection’ had lead to the implementation of the course which marks a significant step towards delivering high quality of care for patients seeking aesthetic treatments.
He acknowledged that such treatment is elective and therefore the college had a ‘very strange agenda’ when it came to aesthetics, but that the profession needs to protect their dental patients.
‘The Royal College of Surgeons and, in particular, our faculty realise that patients are not being treated as well as they should be,’ he explained.
‘There exists a strong commercial imperative for accreditation in the area of aesthetic dentistry, with patient demand having fuelled a proliferation of dentists, and also non-dental professionals, offering cosmetic procedures without the appropriate training and accreditation.
‘This programme aims to improve the level of aesthetic care delivered to patients, and will set the standards that all dentists should aspire to in the field.
‘The qualification also provides the public with a means of identifying dentists who have undertaken independent, acknowledged training in the field, enabling the patient to be reassured of the standard of treatment offered.’
Dean of the FGDP (UK), Richard Hayward, welcomed the new module, saying that it will be ‘deliberately and specifically talking about facial aesthetics’.
The programme syllabus includes a compulsory module in which participants will examine the issues surrounding the provision of cosmetic versus aesthetic treatments, including discussions on the concept of ‘smile design’, ethical considerations, and medico-legal issues.
Other mandatory units are tooth whitening and direct anterior aesthetic restorations.
Applications will be accepted until 29 February 2008.